There are some things we are, as a society, not good at. Waiting is one of those things. We want it now, fresh and all-laid-out for our consumption, for we are a consumer society.
It is such a stark contrast to be looking at Scripture and see how long people back then had to wait. Abraham is given a promise that he will become the father of great nations. Sixteen years after this promise Ishmael is born to Haggar (fathered by Abraham). But this was not the child of God's promise, so ... more waiting! Fourteen more years pass and Sarah bears a son named Isaac. Abraham is now 100 years old! We, our entire society, would have lost patience and given up on God's promise! We hate to wait.
In Luke 2 a man named Simeon is waiting. He is old, but God's Spirit has revealed to him "he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Messiah (Luke 2:26)." So Simeon waits as he serves in the Temple, and he is not disappointed. Mary and Joseph come to present Jesus at the temple, 40 days after Jesus' birth. Simeon is there and his waiting pays off as he receives and blesses Jesus. In fact, the name means, in one translation, "God is listening."
There are things we can learn about waiting from Simeon and this story. The first is, God has a time ... and God's timing is perfect. The Holy Spirit had told Simeon that the Messiah would come and that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. This statement from God's Spirit implies an important truth about God's timing ... God has a plan. God had a plan for the Jews of Simeon's time, sending them the Messiah in the form of a little child. God was (and is ) listening to our hurts, our longings and our hearts. God has a plan.
The second thing we learn from Simeon's story is that God has a place. During COVID many people have become content or complacent, being satisfied with online church or some other substitute for God's place to which people are called. Simeon was called 'devout' and he was focused on being in the Temple ... and his devotion was rewarded with God's fulfilled promise. God has a place where He is calling you to serve, experience the liturgy of life in the Church and live in the cycle of the Church. Your 'comfortable' place is not a substitute for this. So, as things become closer to normal and you can safely get back to your congregation, please respond and be devout like Simeon. Come to the discomfort and beauty of corporate worship with other folks ... and you will be blessed!
God also has a person. I was watching the news last week and reflected on several people who were interviewed by news media. Some people were looking to the president for 'guidance' on the issues at hand. Others were looking to opposition leaders for 'guidance' about "what to do next." As I read this I was drawn to 3 words in the story of Simeon ... "the Lord's Messiah." There will always be other messiahs. We will (and do) have false prophets, teachers selling snake oil (marketing their lines of proprietary products), speakers stirring up folks using proof-texted words pulled out of their Biblical context and just people who have something to say and want to draw a crowd. But there is only one "Lord's Messiah." His name is Jesus. He is the one promised. He has given guidance in His life, His teachings, His resurrection story and His gift of total forgiveness for all who believe. Simeon said, "He has been sent as a sign from God (Luke 2:34)!"
He was Simeon's Messiah. He is our Messiah. He is your Messiah. Look to Him. Listen to Him. Follow Him! Randy